The Columbian Wyandotte is arguably one of the most beautiful and regal chicken breeds on the average American farm. They have large, sturdy bodies that look tall and powerful, as well as stunning, black-laced white feathers.
But their magnificent appearance isn’t the only thing to love about the Columbian Wyandotte. Many chicken owners love these friendly birds because they’re a dual-purpose chicken breed. They’re great egg layers and make for delicious meat.
Of course, before thinking about the poultry products a chicken breed will get you, it’s important to care for them first. Today, we’ll tell the ins and outs of caring for a Columbian Wyandotte, what their personality and temperament are like, and the history of where they came from.
History and Origin of the Columbian Wyandotte
Dual-purpose chicken breeds—aka those that can lay eggs and be used as meat later on as well—weren’t so common in the 1800s. So, to meet the demand for both delicious eggs and juicy chicken meat, the Wyandotte was bred in the 1870s.
The Wyandotte chicken, also known as American Sebrights or Sebright Cochins, were bred to have a large, plump body that was strong enough for egg-laying and fleshy enough to become meat. They were also bred to survive chilly winters in the North.
The name “Wyandotte” borrows from the Native American tribe that is the “Wendat” nation, although there’s nothing that connects the two. And while the Columbian Wyandotte is a sought-after breed today, it’s not the original Wyandotte. That would be the Silver-Laced Wyandotte.
The Columbian Wyandotte would not appear until 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition, a fair held in Chicago to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ rediscovery of the Americas. The event is also where the breed gets its name.
This chicken breed is a cross between a White Wyandotte and a barred Plymouth Rock chicken. It had been a chance crossing at first. But later in 1906, the Columbian Wyandotte would be recognized as a heritage breed by the American Poultry Association (APA).
What do Columbian Wyandotte Chickens Look Like?
People look at Columbian Wyandottes as some of the most strikingly beautiful chickens they have ever laid eyes on.
For the most part, these chickens have a solid white shade of feathers. What sets them apart from other white chickens is their distinct black feather lacing, which can be seen at their collar and by their tail feathers. The contrast of black and white feathers creates a gorgeous silver hue.
Their plumage is usually thick and fluffy. One downside of this is that chicken droppings can sometimes build up on their feathers. So, it’s important to keep their plumage, from their white feathers to their black tail, trimmed and polished.
Columbian Wyandottes are also known for their rose comb close to their head. These small combs have a vibrant red shade and look flat and bubble-like. They help the chickens withstand the harsh cold of winter. They also have long wattles and short yet wide necks and backs.
These chickens typically have medium- to large-sized bodies. Hens will weigh around 6-7 lbs, while roosters weigh 8-9 lbs. They carry their round bodies with grace and ease around the farm, which makes them look even bigger than they actually are.
Just one look at these chickens, and you’ll instantly see how majestic they look with their regal plumage, thick feathering, and gorgeous black and white lacing. Check out how powerful Columbian Wyandottes look on the farm here:
Poultry Products They Can Produce
Columbian Wyandottes are an amazing addition to your homestead because they are dual-purpose. Not only can they lay high-quality medium to large brown eggs, but they’re also cut out for becoming chicken meat.
Medium brown eggs
A healthy Columbian Wyandotte hen can lay 4-6 eggs a week and approximately 200-250 eggs annually. These hens will always lay medium to large farm-fresh eggs.
Although these chickens have white feathers, they actually have yellow skin underneath. So, they produce eggs with cocoa brown shells. Sometimes, the eggs will have a pink tone to them.
Because these hens were bred to withstand cold weather, you can rely on them to keep laying eggs even in the winter. This is usually a problem with other breeds, but not for a healthy Columbian Wyandotte.
Plump, juicy chicken meat
Because these chickens grow to be quite large and heavy, they make for a terrific source of chicken meat. Since they’re so big, they’re easy to handle and process into meat.
The main difference between Columbian Wyandottes and broiler chickens meant specifically for meat is that they are in no way enhanced. Their breed naturally looks big and fluffy, unlike say, Cornish Cross chickens, which are enhanced and fattened to look more appetizing.
Columbian Wyandottes: Unique Personality Traits
It’s easy to say that some chicken breeds are friendly and easy to get along with on the farm. But Columbian Wyandottes are more than just friendly—they also have their own unique quirks that make them even more lovable.
Here are just several of this chicken breed’s remarkable personality traits:
1. Overall quite calm and docile
One of the best traits of the Columbian Wyandotte is that they are typically calm and amicable with other farm animals.
They’re not the type to pick fights with other chickens, so you don’t have to stress about breaking up attacks within the flock. This makes them a great choice for novice chicken keepers.
2. Can also be noisy at times
However, even if these chickens are calm and tender-hearted, they can be quite noisy in the coops. If you have multiple breeds on your farm, you may notice that they are among the loudest, especially the hens that are laying eggs.
3. Cold-hardy chickens
Columbian Wyandottes are cold-hardy chickens known to withstand even the coldest winters in northern states. Their thick feathering and rose comb help keep them warm. So if you live in a very cold climate, these chickens will be your best friend.
4. Born to be free-range
Columbian Wyandottes love to be independent. They enjoy roaming freely in open areas and foraging their own food, like insects and tiny animals for protein.
But because they love to explore the farm, they can sometimes wander a little too far. This makes them an easy target for predators, like hawks, cats, and dogs. Make sure the area they roam is fenced so that they don’t go missing or get attacked by a predator.
5. Can be broody mothers
These hens are also known to be excellent mothers that are protective of their eggs. Some hens might even go broody and sit on their eggs all day to incubate them. Although this doesn’t happen often, it’s very much possible with Columbian Wyandottes.
What do Columbian Wyandotte Chickens Eat?
Young Columbian Wyandotte chicks need a lot of protein, just like chicks of any breed. They’ll need a starter feed with 20% protein at the minimum.
After they grow into adult chickens, you can transition them into a layer feed, which has a little less protein but more calcium. This is important, especially for egg-laying hens that need extra bone health to produce strong, high-quality eggshells. Other sources of calcium include oyster shells.
You can also allow your chickens to roam free-range so that they can hunt for natural protein sources of their own. These include bugs, worms, tiny frogs, and other animals that can chomp with their beaks. Not only is this a treat for them, but it also makes their meat more flavorful.
Feel free to give your Columbian Wyandottes other fruits and vegetables as an occasional treat as well. Plant-based foods are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that every growing chicken needs.
Try feeding your backyard flock some green leafy vegetables like kale, cabbage, and lettuce. They also might enjoy fruits like apples, strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon. These organic foods are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which can help boost their immunity in the long run.
Whether you’re looking for a medium brown egg or tender chicken meat for the kitchen, or simply hunting for a docile bird you can keep on the form, the beautiful Columbian Wyandotte is an excellent chicken breed for you.
Not only are these friendly birds great at producing high-quality poultry products, but they are also majestic in appearance, making them the perfect ornamental pet on the farm.
They’re independent, low-maintenance, cold hardy birds, so you rarely have to stress about caring for them. They also have a docile temperament. All these make them an excellent chicken breed choice for first-time chicken raisers.
Have a question you want to ask about the Columbian Wyandotte? Drop them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you when we can!